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tv   Politics Europe  BBC News  January 21, 2018 2:30pm-3:01pm GMT

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the uk change its mind about brexit. the uk government say that is not going to happen. what is the eu playing at? irish prime minister leo varadker throws his weight behind deeper eu integration after brexit, and spelt out his vision for the future reform of the block. we speak to one of his key allies. and the eis —— eu gets tough on plastic body shies away from a plastics tax. will its strategy work? all that to come and more. joining me is kate andrews of the london—based institute of economic affairs, and alex barker, brussels chief of the financial times. first, our guide alex barker, brussels chief of the financialtimes. first, our guide to the latest in europe in 60 seconds. big news this week as the eu declared war on plastic. the commission's new strategy aims to outlaw single use plastics by 2030. there was no mention of a previously mooted tax. the bulgarian prime
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minister presented his country's plans... it is the first time bulgaria has taken charge of the rotating post. the eu council president, donald tusk, got weepy about brexit, saying, our hearts are still open for you. we have all sent texts like that late at night. john paul younger wondered if brexit would be reversed using article a0 nine. —— jean—claude juncker. romania is reversed using article a0 nine. —— jean—claudejuncker. romania is set to have its first female prime minister. and the breakthrough in german coalition negotiations. martin shields calling the deal an excellent result. we will see. —— martin shields. alex, let's talk about donald tusk, jean—claude juncker. do they
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alex, let's talk about donald tusk, jean—claudejuncker. do they think brexit is reversible? donald tusk definitely does. he wants to make that clear to the british public. i don't think he thinks it will happen but it is important that he says it could happen. what is he actually getting at? their ideal outcome, for donald tusk, i would say, is for the uk to stay involved. they are quite happy for that to happen and they see a small window where it could happen easily. between now and 0ctober? happen easily. between now and october? yes. what about jean-claude juncker? is he talking about the uk changing its mind when it has left and rejoining? you mentioned article a0 nine. that is the process that moldova would take, new countries. it isa moldova would take, new countries. it is a rough road. you're looking at accepting the euro, not having a rebate. i don't think that is
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necessarily be part of the british public want to go down. what is your reaction on hearing these two important people within the eu saying that yes, our hearts are still open, you can come back or not leave out all? there are a few things going on. it is not in their interest to see the system they have built and invested in, to lose one of the most important members. i think there is still a sense they don't want to give other countries the assumption that it is an easy process, that it is something they could do. i think this is getting closer to when the negotiations are going to get nitty—gritty. both sides want to be seen to be playing nice. there was hardball in the beginning. now i think you want to paint yourself as if you are open—minded to getting a deal. if you don't get a deal it will be catastrophic for many countries. does it sound as if they are not accepting the decision that britain made with the referendum? no, i
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don't think so. some people in brussels think the idea of reversing shouldn't happen and hope it doesn't. but if it came to it, and the uk for whatever kind of circumstances ended up changing its mind, the 27 would think, what better validation for our project than a country trying to lead and then deciding at can't? i think the road back would be quite smooth. the person saying this and where you saved from matters much. we talk about a second referendum in the uk. that has more political weight because politicians in westminster have been instructed by their people to carry forward something. when people do it from other countries it has a different angle. you can say they are not respecting the result of the referendum. i think we should be slightly more generous. they are saying, let's keep the conversation going. irish taoiseach leo varadker lead a debate on the future of europe, with
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meps in strasbourg this week. that isa meps in strasbourg this week. that is a future without the uk. were there any shots across the bow regarding brexit? adam fleming gives us regarding brexit? adam fleming gives us is hot take. the new year means new thinking and the european parliament is holding a series of big debate about the future of the eu with eu leaders. first up 0mid taoiseach leo varadker. he wooed the parliament with references to europe's big figures past and present. and he threw his support behind a pet project of many meps, european wide candidates for the parliamentary elections. meps, european wide candidates for the parliamentary electionslj support the parliamentary elections.” support the europe—wide list for the european parliament. i would like to get people in cafes in naples and restau ra nts get people in cafes in naples and restaurants in galway talking about the same election choices. perhaps thatis the same election choices. perhaps that is an ambitious idea but i think it is one we should strive for. the eu needed to be ambitious about security, cutting the cost of
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medicines, helping the rest of the world. but there were limits to integration. whatever our future holds, europe needs to be competitive economically. and one of the ways to ensure this is by allowing competition among member states. and i think this is particularly important for a and less developedfr— . , — lg; $5.5??? 5 a; 5:33 az—fzazzjza fibfisi domestic i and need teneetfiéfif. my small and need inward investment. my strong view is that national taxes that fund national budgets should be determined by national parliaments and governments. that led to raised eyebrows because ireland is notorious for a low rate of corporation tax, and it has been taken to court over a deal with apple. you say ireland should be allowed ways... i agree with this. surely the alternative cannot be between a one size fits all taxation syste m between a one size fits all taxation system that would work for the
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central, big and core european countries to the detriment of everyone else. and a no holds barred tax competition that we have right i'iow. tax competition that we have right now. there was an enormous elephant in the room. brexit. as the negotiations move forward into phase two, we will continue to rely on your support and solidarity as we work to ensure that what has been promised in theory is delivered in practice. and there can be no backsliding on this. so it is important that these commitments are fully reflected in the legal text of the withdrawal agreement, and firmly embedded in the uk's future relationship with the european union, whatever shape that ultimately takes. for my part, i hope that the new relationship that exists between the united kingdom and the european union is as close and the european union is as close and as deep as is possible. but how close a relationship with the uk? when you think nearly 50% of exports from irish owned companies go to the
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united kingdom, and agriculture in some sectors, it is as high as 90%, you potentially have quite a lot to lose. and yet despite the fact that i'io lose. and yet despite the fact that no one should be fighting harder for a genuine rounded trade deal than you, that doesn't appear to be the a genuine rounded trade deal than you, ‘ his doesn't appear to be the a genuine rounded trade deal than you, ‘ his as"; in appear to be the a genuine rounded trade deal than you, ‘ his as"; in the tar to be the a genuine rounded trade deal than you, ‘ his as"; in the visitors' the mega figs-g a; gig “have mega 5.35; 5 £55 “a... leo mega 4454 5 44:4 44-4444 leo eurovision mega 5454 5 444 444444 leo eurovision on book, leo varadker‘s eurovision on the the ‘ leaders who the record. the other leaders who have signed up to get theirs, include the prime ministers of portugal and croatia, and president macron of france, you in april. adam fleming. i'm joined macron of france, you in april. adam fleming. i'mjoined from dublin by irish mep mairead mcguinness, who was by her prime minister's side on wednesday. welcome. the dup mp sammy wilson said leo varadker was naive, arrogant and inexperienced for siding with the eu over the uk in
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brexit negotiations. what do you say to him? indeed, and he used another term which he later apologised for. i disagree with all of that because i think on the performance of the taoiseach's speech was anything but. he was very clear, he was very focused on the issues that face the european union, and he didn't dodge the hard questions. the piece about taxation, the taoiseach responded by saying there are other member states who perhaps have a higher rate of tax but when it comes to exemptions etc they collect less tax and their effective rate is lower. he dealt very comprehensively with the range very complehensivelymdthierange had that 7 an a —— and felt he had to reflected. i think the world has moved on from that type of politics, i would hope, because what happened this week in strasbourg was very significant and hugely important for europe. the taoiseach was the first leader of a country, of the 27, to put his case
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forward. he had a speech which was wrote received. — — forward. he had a speech which was wrote received. —— which was well received. i thought his responses, the humanity of his responses and how he articulated the special relationship between the united kingdom and ireland, as he said, his mother and father met in the uk, fell in love, got married and indeed one of his sisters lives there and her children are one of his sisters lives there and herchildren are uk one of his sisters lives there and her children are uk citizens. but clearly irish as well. they have that possibility. for many reasons i think his speech was quite profound and the reaction has been very positive. except i think sammy wilson was pointing to the fact that in his mind ireland was used by the eu as in his mind ireland was used by the euasa in his mind ireland was used by the eu as a stick to beat the uk in phase one of the negotiations. the issue of the irish border was a red mind during that first phase. and for a moment it looked as if the eu was gone to play hardball. 0nce for a moment it looked as if the eu was gone to play hardball. once the financial offer was made by the uk government, it seemed the eu settled the matter very quickly. were you
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really used in that first phase? gosh, i think that is a very cynical and incorrect interpretation of the work we all did going up to the end of la st work we all did going up to the end of last year. but it wasn't resolved. the border issue wasn't resolved. the border issue wasn't resolved. that was the point. well actually, i think you are wrong on that. i think what was agreed is very clear. there will be no return toa very clear. there will be no return to a hard border. and look, i spent hours last night with the irish medical organisation talking about cross—border health collaboration post brexit. that is a serious issue, not for politics but for people on the ground. when we look to the future, it is around issues like health care, access to medicines, medical devices, which uk citizens should be very concerned about, because it has been quite astonishing the number of pharmaceutical companies that have beenin pharmaceutical companies that have been in my office in brussels pleading with me to understand their
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situation and their worry about being able to continue if there is a clean, rather not clean, but a severe deal and no good relationship at the end of all of this process. and if we bear in mind the consequences of and if we bear in mind the consequences of that, then the politics has got to work. so i absolutely disagree with your interpretation. anyone who would use the border in ireland politically and incorrectly would certainly be i'io and incorrectly would certainly be no friend of ireland. we had enormous support in the european parliament and elsewhere, around the border question, because europe is a peace project. shaw, nye said there was a lot of support from the eu. but that seemed to dissolve. in what way has the irish border issue been resolved? yes, way has the irish border issue been resolved ? yes, there way has the irish border issue been resolved? yes, there is a guarantee there won't be a hard border. let me finish the question. it is about what will happen in terms of the trade deal and in terms of her
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regulations and customs would be looked at in the future. in the d raft looked at in the future. in the draft agreement it says the united kingdom would propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of ireland. it was kicked down the road, resolved. i would interpret it very differently. i would disagree absolutely and vigorously with your interpretation that once the money was sorted, that the irish question was sorted, that the irish question was practically dismissed. i really think that is an appalling interpretation of what happened. the text of what is agreed, the bottom line in this text, and the taoiseach referred to this as well, we will not return to a hard border on the island of ireland, arrangements will have to be made, we don't know how this trade relationship talks will develop, we haven't got a transition agreement reached yet, that is the next phase, in order that there is none of that difficulty around a border. and of course, if the united kingdom continues on the path of wanting diverging, then the united
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kingdom has a problem in meeting its commitment, which it made any withdrawal agreement, which has to be written into legal tax. so you do wa nt be written into legal tax. so you do want a written legal text? may i finish the question? you can but i must go to my other guests. you were right in saying it is not absolutely written and sealed but the context and the support and the commitment is there. right. a lot of people would disagree with the idea it has been completely resolved. do you think this issue has been resolved, alex? the draft agreement puts the uk and ireland on a collision course as it respects the uk integrity —— eu integrity and ireland's place in those institutions, while also maintaining there is a soft border. can that happen? there are all sorts of contradictions in that paper. it has to be read very carefully. there is no solution at the moment. they set out a framework of the steps you had to go through to find that
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solution. all the parts that are really contradictory a re solution. all the parts that are really contradictory are actually promises the uk was making to itself about the integrity of the uk. the parts that ireland was interested in we re parts that ireland was interested in were bilateral promises about what happens in the circumstances were you can't find a solution, and there we have alignment. it would be an almighty fight. that is where the battle ground will be drawn. if these solutions written to this d raft these solutions written to this draft agreement, and even mairead mcguinness says we haven't got to the final end point of this agreement, the uk will have to maintain full alignment, which is, of course, what it says it doesn't wa nt to of course, what it says it doesn't want to do. the uk government is looking at managed diversions. would that work for the party? it may be what ends up happening. but nobody has agreed on the definition of alignment. it is impossible to know if that has been agreed. in many people's minds that wasn't what the term was supposed to be used to. ——
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four. the idea that the hard border has been solved is not the case. neither side wanted the hard border. it was used as a scaremongering tactic. it was always ridiculous to think this issue could be solved before we know what the agreement is going to be. it is nearly impossible. mairead mcguinness, if everything relating to the irish border, when it comes to the future trade agreement, was in full alignment, would you agree to the uk diverging in other areas? well, it depends what you mean by diverging. there is dispute about that. and what other areas you are talking about. i mentioned health, for example. this has not been discussed in the united kingdom because there isa in the united kingdom because there is a real lack of awareness around pharmaceuticals and the fact that the european success story around registration control and monitoring of drugs and the supply of these things... if the united kingdom were to dub urge on those issues, there would be real problems. ithink
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to dub urge on those issues, there would be real problems. i think the united kingdom, when it looks at certain sectors, perhaps all sectors, will understand better that divergences doesn't mean something is improved and in fact will mean that it is improved and in fact will mean thatitis is improved and in fact will mean that it is more difficult to continue. remember we are close neighbours. we don't want a divergences of the relationship. we wa nt divergences of the relationship. we want that to be strong. but we are in the difficult position that the united kingdom decision is being respected and we are with aaron eu 27 colleagues. the tee centre game did say the support of our colleagues will be required as we move into this next and more difficult phase. —— the taoiseach did save. the work we did last year is not the toughest part. the hardest part is yet to come. for example, on the transition arrangement, politically in the united kingdom this may be problematic. after march 2019, as i see it, the uk will leave but will remain until 2020, when at that
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point there will be the shape of a new relationship. if we thought last year was tough, batten down the hatches. this year will be much more difficult. thank you for that happy new year message! it is not something i want to say but sometimes you have to speak the truth. this week the european commission declared itself a leader on the war and plastics by launching a drive to clea n and plastics by launching a drive to clean up the plastic choking oceans and filling landfills. but what is in their holistic plastics strategy? the european union wants to ensure every piece of packaging on the continent is reusable recyclable by 2030. 2030 is also the target for theiraim of 2030. 2030 is also the target for their aim of recycling half of all plastics waste generated in europe. to do this, £881,000 will be invested every year until 2020 and research to modernise plastics production and making recycling processes more efficient. the commission vice president said the
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strategy hopes to eliminate non—degradable single use items such as copy cops, cutlery and drinking straws. and one commissioner last week floated the idea of a tax on single use plastics to fill brexit shape holes in the eu budget after 2020. i be plastic strategy doesn't commit toa 2020. i be plastic strategy doesn't commit to a plastics tax, it says it will explore the feasibility of introducing measures of a physical nature at eu level. i'm joined by abilene rogerfrom client earth. do you welcome this strategy? we do. i think it is a landmark strategy. what we think is that maybe the plastics strategy didn't go far enough. to recognise a plastic is a pollutant for the environment and also for health. a lot of people understood the seriousness of the
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pollution that plastic caused for the environment, wishing to ban it. —— watching the environment, wishing to ban it. — — watching blue the environment, wishing to ban it. —— watching blue planet. the environment, wishing to ban it. -- watching blue planet. how far should they have gone with their strategy? what would you have liked to have seen? what they did well is they understood that action is needed today and not tomorrow. and they did promise that some single use plastic, some very dangerous plastic, might have to be banned. the commission promised that micro—plastic, for example, will be banned and also that degradable plastic will be banned. that is very good news. we think more could be done to phase out single use plastic. we all have to take responsibility. less than £1 million a yearfor responsibility. less than £1 million a year for improving the recyclability of plastics. the whole scheme of things, that is not that big a figure. do you think this is
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virtue signalling or is it going to achieve something?” virtue signalling or is it going to achieve something? i think often there can be a level of virtue signalling. but given that the comprehensive strategies to tackle recycling and to make it easier and make plastic easier to recycle, this is actually quite a good step. i'm happy they have not gone straight in for the tax. when you go for a tax, people are going to feel the brunt of that. i think what they are doing is being quite practical. i don't know how many years' time but in the future plastic will be phased out. we are living in the age of tech and innovation. to tackle it now and make it more easily was likeable is a good thing. —— moores —— more easily recyclable. tax has its advantage. we too that with the plastic bag tax. that is quite good. what you have to understand with tax is that they focus on the consumer. we all have to take responsibility and for example think about it. if
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you want to do a courgette soup and you want to do a courgette soup and you go to the supermarket and you wa nt you go to the supermarket and you want to buy several courgettes, you will have to buy them three by three wrapped in plastic. why is that the case? wrapped in plastic. why is that the case ? supermarkets wrapped in plastic. why is that the case? supermarkets have a responsibility. a tax would not be advantageous. you are not really promoting the idea of a tax at this stage? i think it would be better to look at other things first. one commissioner suggested could fill the hole that britain is going to leave when it leaves the eu. that is quite a big plastics tax! there is a love plastic! well, yes. they are endlessly creative about trying to find new ways to raise money and they are normally knocked back by they are normally knocked back by the member states. you pick on things that aren't popular. plastics, elution, bankers,
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foreigners. but ultimately something like plastics taxation you have to do at national level. it is sensitive politically. where it works in some countries, fine, but in others you will never agree. indeed. just briefly, on the target that you mentioned, kate, do you think that is achievable by 2030, all plastics to be recyclable? are not sure if it is achievable. i don't know enough about the industry. you speak about going to supermarkets. if you force them to use something else that is more expensive than plastic, that would be pushed onto the consumer. doing this at the national level is more helpful because they can gauge what the response will be. a lot is going to happen in the next decade or more. who knows? let's. is the target achievable? i think the first step would be to ban dangerous chemicals from plastic. the plastic
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has to be recyclable. you need to not have dangerous substances in the plastic because you will find them in other products. the commission is aware of it. the strategy does show it. but quick action is needed. and at this point do you think the eu will drop this idea of a tax? sometimes policymakers are leading the public in an area. here they have seen a gap in public opinion and thought, we have to fill this. we have not talked about china. they made an important decision about not buying in foreign plastic and taking all the kind of plastic you are sending for recycling. that will change things. in terms of policy making they will have to move quite fast. thank you very much for coming in. that's all for now. thank you to my guests. bye— bye. we are going to have some fun with
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the weather today. snow already falling across some parts of the country. ice around as well. take it steady on the roads. huge contrasts in the temperature. it was the cold est in the temperature. it was the coldest night of the winter so far in scotland, dipping to minus 13. at the same time it was 11 degrees in penzance. we get this huge temperature contrast, that means there is a weather front moving across the uk, and that is encountering the cold air in the north and the east, hence we have some snow. this is what it looks like around 3pm. snow across the highlands. there could be 1015 centimetres across the plans. snow falling throughout yorkshire. at this stage i think snow will have moved across parts of the midlands towards the east. it may be sleety rather than raining. a different
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story in the south. mostly rain. we think the possibility of encountering some sleet, maybe some snow, is about as far south as the children's. through this evening the atla ntic children's. through this evening the atlantic winds will push in. there will be low—grade cloud. fog. some of that snow will lie around. it will take time to move away. temperatures will time through the night. —— climb. there is still some rain around the south overnight. these are the temperatures we will have first thing on monday. above freezing in the north. tomorrow it is an entirely different day. no snow. sunshine around. some cloud. 7 degrees in newcastle, aid in northern england, in the south double digit temperatures. as far as the week ahead is concerned, low
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pressure a cross the week ahead is concerned, low pressure across the atlantic. that means it will be pushing in milder air in ourdirection. means it will be pushing in milder air in our direction. cold air in the atlantic always sitting ready to come our away. it will be mostly be mild airthat come our away. it will be mostly be mild air that will be affecting us back for the first part of the week. with that, wind and rain. bye—bye. this is bbc news, i'm martine croxall, the headlines at 3pm. reports now say 18 people were killed when gunmen stormed the biggest hotel in the afghan capital, kabul. a man has been arrested after an eight—year—old girl was stabbed to death in the west midlands. the ukip leader henry bolton tells the bbc it's not right for the party's ruling committee tojudge him on his personal life — an emergency meeting on his future is being held this afternoon. i'm not going to let this party be disrupted by internal squabbling, which has exploited my own domestic situation in order to cause problems. britain's kyle edmund reachs his first grand slam quarter—final at the australian open tennis.
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and a women's march in central london. hundreds of people have been taking part in a "time's up" protest
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